Bethnal Green South Cllr Sirajul Islam on how the Mayor should tackle the borough’s crime


- Credit: Archant

Earlier this year more than 40 per cent of residents told us that dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour was their top priority. That’s no surprise given that since the current Mayor of Tower Hamlets came to power crime in the borough has risen by nine per cent.

Now, in a time of economic hardship, in a borough where we have significant challenges of poverty, some people would say of course crime will increase. But if you look at London as a whole crime has actually dropped two per cent since 2010 according to Metropolitan police figures.

I do not however suggest that crime has gone up because of the current Mayor, it hasn’t. But I do believe he has failed to take tackling crime seriously.

I met a resident recently who has had his home burgled twice in the last two months. When I hear stories like this, and they aren’t isolated incidents, I know that we are not getting it right.

Too often low level crimes go unpunished only to act as a gateway to greater levels of criminality in the future. It was revealed last week that 75 per cent of crimes in Tower Hamlets go unsolved – a real worry which will only get worse thanks to Boris Johnson’s cuts to neighbourhood policing.

What is needed is strong leadership. A good Mayor has the power to bring the right people together and to make sure the police, housing providers and others are relentlessly focused on cracking down on the causes of crime. Sadly it is that community leadership which is missing. This was evidently clear in the wake of the tragic murder of Ajmol Alom when the current Mayor added insult to injury by turning up to a community meeting on the stabbing late and then leaving early, refusing to answer the legitimate concerns of residents.

By contrast I believe that Labour’s John Biggs has the experience and authority to work with the police and make the changes necessary to improve our streets.

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There is no reason why we should accept crime is up nine per cent in Tower Hamlets when it is down two per cent across the rest of London. We believe that many of these problems have local solutions and we are listening to residents to understand the challenges in each area.

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